Rogers Communications has agreed to the largest television rights deal ever made with the NHL. It will give the Canadian broadcaster domestic rights to all NHL games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Final, over 12-years.
The mammoth $5.2-billion deal also includes a guarantee that there will be no local blackouts and further regionalization of games. Rogers will have three exclusive nights (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) to broadcast any game that will include at least one Canadian team.
Viewers on Saturday nights will get every game regardless of where they reside and certain games involving two U.S.-based teams. In addition, the new Sunday night national broadcast will feature marquee matchups.
The deal also includes limited control of CBC’s Hockey Night of Canada, which will see reduced editorial control and creative direction of its broadcasts leading to job losses at the public broadcaster. CBC and Quebec’s TVA network will continue to air NHL games through a sub-licensing agreement with Rogers.
In addition, Rogers will use its digital technology to stream games on the Internet, wireless and mobile devices, and satellite radio. Rogers will operate NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live in Canada.
“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians,” said Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Communications. “Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice.”
Rogers Sportsnet TV currently has the regional rights to the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. It broadcasts 264 NHL games per year, the most games featuring Canadian teams among all Canadian broadcast companies.
Rogers Communications owns a 37.5 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and has an alliance with the Canucks, including the naming rights of Rogers Arena, Vancouver’s home building. Rogers is also the telecommunications sponsor of the Oilers.
The deal excludes TSN which currently possesses a national television rights package that expires at the end of the season and will not be renewed. It is not known what will happen to the iconic “Hockey Night in Canada” theme song purchased by TSN in 2008 when the CBC was unable to negotiate a deal with the composer of the instrumental.
Featured Image: Vancouver Canucks